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Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years

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Underwater data centers powered by 100% renewable energy are a very interesting idea. It is also noteworthy that they seem to be much more reliable than conventional DCs and that an “unreliable grid” isn’t such a big problem.

When the container was hauled off the seabed around half a mile offshore after being placed there in May 2018, just eight out of the 855 servers on board had failed.

The team is speculating that the greater reliability may be connected to the fact that there were no humans on board, and that nitrogen rather than oxygen was pumped into the capsule.

All of Orkney’s electricity comes from wind and solar power, but there were no issues in keeping the underwater data centre supplied with power.

What I do wonder, however, is how great is the effect of the heat emitted on the surroundings, how do fish, plants, etc. react? How much would the oceans warm up if all data centers were under water?

While it’s a very good idea to run data centers on 100% green power and cooling, which requires very little energy, it may still be worth considering how to reduce the growth in cloud resources needed. This reminds me of the thought of how much energy could be saved if we weren’t being tracked everywhere on the internet and our behavior analyzed in detail to display appropriate advertising. Two relevant posts on my blog here and here.



Jan-Lukas Else
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